Friday, May 31, 2013

Nile-Marketing-Best-Time-for-Your-Company-to-Send-Emails


Best Time for Your Company to Send Emails

One of the most asked questions by email marketers is when should emails be sent out to customers? Is the best time in the morning, midday, evening, weekdays or weekends?

Well to be frank, there is no one cookie cutter answer that will magically bring you more customers. Each company, service and product offered have different customers that behave in their own unique way.

Also, the action you want your customers to take when they read your emails will affect the outcome of your email campaigns.

Perhaps you want the customer to visit your store on certain days to receive a discount on their purchase. You could get a low response because customers were busy and could not make it to the store. Maybe the email campaign would have been a success if the customer could have shopped at your online store.

Running a contest could get impressive responses even if you send it out late in the day on a weekend, or it could fall flat because it has been said that no one reads emails on the weekend.

So what do statistics say? Could they better answer your question?

Statistics
There are statistics that analytical companies will boast are correct. Some say weekdays between 8 a.m. – 5 p.m., while others day it should be weekdays from 8 -10 p.m. because that is when customers are at their computers.

Another statistics says to stay away from weekends because no one is reading their emails, while other say that is the perfect time to target shoppers.

Statistics have also stated that you will get the best response if your email is opened within the first hour of being sent.

The True Answer
The best answer to the question is to figure out what works for your target audience. You will have to try AB testing again and again to discover the pattern that works.
Nile Marketing - Choosing an Email Color Scheme



Choosing an Email Color Scheme

Choosing an email color scheme is vital so your email campaign will look professional and cohesive in combination with your site and marketing materials.

Consistency in your emails helps your customer to know that (1) they have received an email from your company and (2) when they click to your site that they have landed on the correct site.

You will need to choose about seven colors or hues to incorporate into your email template. You will need colors for the:

Header
Footer
Text
Links
Background
Sidebar
If you already have a logo and website built, then choose your email colors from there. This will ensure that your brand has a consistent look and feel throughout.

Pick a color palette that is geared towards your target audience to facilitate drawing them into your brand, services and products.

For example, if you are selling relaxation candles, you will want serene, peaceful colors like a light green or off white. Bright, extravagant colors would only distract from the concept of your brand.

When choosing your color scheme, make sure you have a variety of contrasting colors. Your message will look bland or get lost if the colors are too light, too dark or too similar.

Choosing a background color and text color is very important. You want to ensure that the text is easy to read and the colors are easy on the eyes.

Keep in mind the sizes of the text on your site. If the font gets too small, your background color might bleed into the word and make it difficult to read.

Also, your background color should not be overpowering since it is the most prominent color to be used on the site.

Make sure that the color you choose for your links is not used elsewhere. This provides consistency and your links will stand out easily.

If you are having trouble deciding on a color scheme, one of your talented team members can assist you, so contact us today.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Nile-Marketing-6-Best-SEO-Practices-for-using-rel=canonical



The rel=canonical is an important part of your website structure when it comes to SEO. A couple of days ago, we shared some common mistakes people often make with rel=canonical attributes, knowing little that the consequences could be more than they bargained for. Anyhow, we discussed the mistakes before. Today, we are going to some best practices you should always try to follow when canonicalizing your pages.




The rel=canonical attribute is a way of letting search engines know that there is a canonical, or alternate version of the current page available somewhere else. The current page might have the same data as the original source, but organized differently (sorted, summarized, formatted etc). This reduces the risk of your site getting penalized for duplicate content. And search engines like it too, because it's one less page they have to crawl and index.

To help you make the best out of your rel=canonicals, here are some best SEO practices you should keep in mind.


6 SEO practices for using rel=canonical


Don't canonicalize unless the duplication is large - Do not add rel=canonical unless there's a large portion of duplicated content. Similar topics with closely matching, but not exactly matching content do not qualify. A good litmus test would be looking at the pages from the perspective of someone who doesn't know that language. If someone without knowledge of that language can tell if the two pages have same content, then you probably should canonicalize them.

Only use one rel=canonical per page. You can't point to multiple source pages. Rel=canonicals that come after the first one are ignored.

Decide which URL you want to show - You can make either of the pages appear in search results. But make sure you make the correct association, and not add a rel=canonical on the original page.

Make sure that the target to your canonical doesn't lead to a 404 page.

The original page must not contain a "noindex" tag.

Include in the head - Make sure you place the rel=canonical in the <head> section of your site. If it comes in the body, it will simply be ignored.

Monday, May 27, 2013


Nile-Marketing-Choosing-a-Color-Scheme-for-Your-Site




Choosing a Color Scheme for Your Site

Choosing a color scheme for your site can really enhance your brand and logo. Yes it can become overwhelming but in the end it is a much needed task to undertake.

Make sure you choose a color range that has a variety of hues so all your marketing materials will match. For example, you will want your colors to be on your site, email templates, print materials and press kits.

When picking the colors, you can make the decision yourself or seek out the help of a seasoned online marketing professional. Either way, below are some tips to keep in mind when deciding on a color palette.

Online Tools

You can always go the old fashioned route and head to the local paint store to grab color swatches. Or, you can use online tools to help you find a range of color tones that are flattering to one another.

Kuler Palette by Adobe – This tool is easy to use and allows you to mix and match colors your self or select from a pre-made color schemes.

Psychology of Color – Some people believe color invokes certain emotions from people. If this is important to your business, then you will want select the right shade of colors using a psychology color chart.

Colour Lovers – This site can help you find the colors that are trending this season or for this year.

Color Combo – A site that allows you to compare pre-selected color swatches side by side or you can mix and match to find your own combination.

Design Seed – Choose and compare from a variety of pre-selected color swatches to find the right combination.

Pantone – Another helpful site that gives you the latest in trending color combinations.

Look Around You

Use your natural surroundings for inspiration. Take the time to look around as you drive to work or stand in line for coffee.

Photographs – Look at one of your favorite photographs and choose colors from there.

Favorite Color – Choose your favorite color and use different hues.

Color Wheel – Look at a color wheel and choose colors that are adjacent to each other or colors that are directly across from one another.




Nile-Marketing-Which-Comes-First-Content-or-Design?



Which Comes First: Content or Design?

Do you know which comes first when building a new site – content or design? This is like asking which came first – the chicken or the egg? Ask a web designer and the answer will be design.
Then ask a content writer and the response will be content.

So what’s the correct answer – NEITHER. Let’s hear each side of the argument then I’ll explain why neither design nor content comes first when you want to build a new site.

Design First

It’s a little hard to design an entire site when you haven’t the slightest idea as to what the message of the site and brand is going to be. You could design and entire site leaving large areas
of space for content only to find out that the client has a small straight to the point message that will now be lost in a sea of white space.

As a designer, you might insert images and graphics which will most likely lack content to describe what they are and how they are important to the customer.

You might build out 10 pages only to find out there is enough content to fill 25 pages. So without content, a design can only reach half its potential.

Content First

A writer can sit down and hash out 15 pages worth of straight text, no problem. Yet, there is a problem because the designer will most likely NOT develop a page where a writer can just plop in a ton of content. The look of the site will most likely call for the content to be broken up so it is easier for the customer to read in small chunks.

The writer will not know which pages have been designed so there will be some pages that will lack content. Also if images or graphics were added to the site, the writer will not know to write
descriptions or captions.

And The Correct Answer Is…

The right answer is structure. The designer and content writer need to first work together to figure out the structure of the site by making a sitemap.

A sitemap lays out the foundation of the site and defines the navigation. From there each person can define which pages need to be made and how much content each will have.

An easy example is architecture. You can just decide to construct a building all willy nilly. First, you have to have an architecture draw out a plan to know the dimensions and sizes of the interior and exterior of the building. A sitemap does exactly that for a website.

The best sites exist because the content writer and the designer worked hand-in-hand from conception to completion.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Much of our media looks down on smart people. They like to produce stories on beautiful and famous people with problems. Sometimes it almost seems to be unpopular to be smart. Such an attitude will not fare you well in the real world. Cultivating your intelligence is one of the most important things you can do to ensure your happiness and financial success in life.



Steps;


Set Goals

Set goals once a week. Do the important things first. This helps because you might need to do an important project and you decide to go and play soccer instead. And the night before the project is due you are rushing around and may not even finish before it is due . Your teacher will be able to tell two things, you've rushed it and you haven't put any effort into it.




Be organized. Begin each day by planning. Get a notebook or small digital planner to write down your daily homework assignments and write down the due dates for tests and papers. Get a weekly planner with your class schedule and plan your activities. Get a monthly calendar to write down birthdays and big events. Write down what classes you have, when to do homework and what your homework is, dates, when you are hanging out with friends, etc. all in your planner.


Aim to educate yourself. Keep in mind an education isn't the junk you are forced to do in school for diplomas and degrees; it's an understanding of the world around you. People who are naturally curious for some reason begin to stop asking questions the moment they hit school. The truly brilliant mind however, always questions their world and tries to make sense of it. That is the secret to "genius". Do not let the relentless orders and busywork of school called an "education" fool you. Schools are one potential resource if you enjoy the environment but by no means are they necessary for brilliance and by no means are they the best way. Try teaching yourself. You can even learn from your life experiences, sometimes called "unschooling".



Expand Your Horizons

  1. Be open-minded and willing to learn new things. Just because you're great at one thing doesn't mean you have to stick to it! Try drawing or painting, writing, learning an instrument or dancing!

  2. Cultivate an interest in subjects like current events, interesting facts, funny and inspiring quotations, good books and movies, scientific studies and interesting inventions. Educational television is a great way to learn. Check out PBS or History channel. People who have something to talk about other than their own internal problems and worries appear far more interesting and intelligent.
    If you can read much faster than you can speak, it is much more efficient to read a book, or better yet a non-linear electronic document like a wiki than to watch a show for all but the most intellectually demanding or video-dependent learning. Commercial television is particularly bad because its ultimate purpose is to do just enough to keep you at the TV and its ads, not satisfy you so you can do something else
       
  3. Work on your vocabulary. Read good books, try to use a few definitions from the dictionary each day, or subscribe to a "word-of-the-day" service on-line. You can also take the vocabulary tests in Readers Digest or buy a book on increasing your working vocabulary. Read the dictionary one letter at a time. This will take you at least a year but you will grow intellectually.  
  4. Read good books. They will make you both appear and be smarter. Reading really is fun and your mind will grow. Keep your reading diverse by reading books of all genres including non-fiction. Make sure the books are interesting to you. As you read more you will soon learn that, just like movies, some books are better than others. If you forgot what you read read it again and remember analyzing is a key for memorizing. You don't need to memorize, just analyze and if you can't read it again. Keep searching out the ones you think are good. If not sure what to read... ask a teacher or go to the library. Get a library card.

  1. Exercise your mind.
    • Learn how to solve the Rubik's cube. It is easier than it appears if you learn tricks in visualizing the cube's geometry. Also do word and math puzzles Don't do Sudoku, it is too hard if you're not very smart.

    • Learn how to do mental sums or speed math. There are all sorts of tricks for doing complicated math in your head that will amaze others. Plus it can potentially increase working memory.

  2. Try learning a new language: You can say something smart that you found out in Spanish, French, etc. and look it up or learn it. Practice it for five minutes and see if you can say it really fast and pronounce it right. Apart from being useful, it may bring you into contact with new people and ideas. You may feel less of a stranger when you visit a place and you know some of the language. Also, at some point you will realise that there are some phrases or concepts in other languages that have no direct translation in English! This can be a challenging and fun exercise for the mind. (Note, try to be patient and positive when studying a language as it may take time to reach the level you desire.)

  3. Visit new places as much as you can. If possible, try to visit other countries too. Visiting cities in your country or in a different one, gives you a open mind and teaches you about the world we live in. You will be able to understand other cultures (how people live in a different place, how they behave with each other, how they live and so on). You will also be able to understand that the planet earth is huge and there are so much to see and do. You will be fascinated on how there are so many different people and culture in the world. That will make you smart and interesting.


Developing People Skills
  1. Simplify. Talking about things that no one else can understand does not make you smart. Genius is the ability to translate the complex into the simple. Practice explaining concepts to others. See just how simple and clear you can make your explanations. If someone doesn't understand you, it is not their fault for being ignorant, it is your fault for being inarticulate.
       
  2. Learn to listen carefully to others' opinions about controversial things, or things they know about and you do not. You do not have to agree with them but remember everybody has something to teach you. If a person holds an opposing opinion they most likely have logical reasons for doing so. Asking questions may allow you to re-evaluate your own beliefs, or point out the flaws in theirs. Keep an open mind. The more intelligent you are the more questions you will ask of your friends, teachers and parents.

  3. Make connections. Burying information somewhere deep in your brain is not useful; you have to be able to access it in real-world situations. Think of real-world situations in which a piece of information will make sense. Then share it with us, and link it in, and watch it grow!.

  4. Be nice to people. Care about the well being of others. Sometimes people don't realize if another person is hurting or sad. Look at their faces and in their eyes when you talk to them. There will always be bullies. They may call you names: a nerd, a freak, a geek, or use a racial slur, but in this case they really will only be jealous and petty. Being nice to all people is also a sign of maturity, class and intelligence. Keep it up and people will notice.

     

Tips

  • There is more than one type of smart. There's book smart, street smart, and so many others out there. No one is technically "stupid" or "dumb" it is just that everyone is smarter at something than someone else!
  • If someone asks you a question that you don't know the answer to, be honest and tell them you do not know. Find out what the answer is from someone.
  • Try to self-learn things. Not everything you learn has to be taught to you by another individual.
  • Pay attention to your feelings, and the feelings of others. To learn about others, first learn about yourself, then come to the realization we are all the same. Then you will have an easier time understanding others.
  • Meditate. This will open your mind to think about things, develop concepts, and ease stress.
  • Know the difference between being smart and knowledgeable. If you are smart, mentally, your mind works very well and is sharp. For an example, you have a great memory or you learn quickly. If you are knowledgeable, you are well-educated, and you know a lot. Are you both or just one?


Warnings

  • Don't become a know-it-all, do-it-all, or argumentative. It is obnoxious! It is better to be subtle, not obvious.
  • Do not depend too much on others, it is better if you do your job by yourself. It will enlarge your knowledge and improve your intelligence.
  • Know your limits, take a break every now and then to reassess yourself and manner of completely achieving your primary goal.
  • Don't just go online, research one fact, and wow people with it. Pick one topic to learn about instead.
  • Don't let intelligence completely consume your life, remember that you have to enjoy life to the point of enjoying it as much as learning.
  • Try very hard to enjoy working with others on projects. It says a lot about you if you are successful. Other people have valuable ideas too. Listen to what others have to say.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Nile-Marketing-10-smartphone-apps-that-can-make-your-life-better




At its best, technology makes your life easier, more productive, or more fun. Here’s a look at 10 of the best smartphone apps on offer right now, according to Business Insider’s Nicholas Carlson.

Seamless

Seamless
It used to be that ordering takeout was a pain. Unless you kept a paper menu on your fridge, you had to look up the restaurant online to see its menu. Then you had to call it up and place your order. This meant talking to someone on the phone, which is the worst, especially if the person on the other end doesn’t speak great English.
Now: I get out of the subway. I open up Seamless. I use my thumb to order to dinner from any of the two dozen nearby restaurants in 2 minutes. It shows up at my door 30 minutes later. My wallet stays in my back pocket the whole time. Magic.

Evernote

Evernote
I use Evernote to remember everything from what kind of Oysters I like to eat, gifts ideas for my wife’s birthday next October, what kind of golf clubs I like to use from 100/75/50 yards out, and notes from my last meeting with a source.
All of it is searchable and organized into clearly labeled notebooks.
Evernote also has other neat tricks.
You can take a picture of a hand-written note, and the words on the page will become searchable later.
It’s aware of your calendar. If you have a meeting on your calendar, it will automatically label notes you take during that meeting “Notes from meeting with Henry.”
Just awesome.

Clear

Clear
Clear is a to-do list app. It’s very simple.  I use it to list out the stories I should write or assign. I use it to remind myself of things I need to do at some point during the afternoon that day. I use it to list out the unhealthy food I’m going to allow myself to eat each month.

Uber

Uber
In New York, where I live, cabs are everywhere and always available – except when its raining.
Suddenly there are none. It used to mean that I was them doomed to take the subway or a bus from wherever I was.
That’s when I pull out my iPhone and use my thumb to summon a taxi. Then, a driver shows up and takes me where I need to go and I never have to take my wallet out.

Fantastical

Fantastical
I used to have the truly awful, horrible habit of sometimes forgetting that I was supposed to be somewhere.
Then I got Fantastical, a calendar app.
Fantastical has a nice UI, but what’s really great about it is how easy it is to schedule something with it.
You type into it “meet with Jay at 4p on tues” and it knows exactly what you mean, and creates the exact right even, with a standard alert you’ve set up in your preferences.
By making it so easy and quick to input events, I’m inputting a lot more of them – and forgetting zero. Which is exactly how many a respectable adult should forget.

Block Fortress

Block Fortress
I sit on the subway for an hour plus every day. If I don’t have a good book to read, TV show to watch, or iPhone game to play, that hour can be painful.
I’ve played a bunch of great iPhone games – Pirates, Civilization, and FieldRunners 2 stand out in my memory – but none have been as great as Block Fortress.
Block Fortress is a turn-based tower defense game that turns into a first-person shooter. Every turn, you set up your defenses for an onslaught of foes. Then you press a button and drop down into the fortress you just built and start fighting.
Playing it, the time flies.

Podcasts

Podcasts
Everyone hates on Apple’s default Podcast app. I like it. I walk 30 minutes plus a day, and I use it all the time, and am not desperate to try replacements.

CardMunch

CardMunch
Business cards seem kind of antiquated in an age of Google, email signatures, and LinkedIn.
But CardMunch makes it useful to get them.
When someone hands me a business card, I open up CardMunch. In the app, I take a photo of the card. It’s then uploaded to the cloud, and someone somewhere writes inputs what’s on the card. Next time I open CardMunch, I have that person’s contact in a digital address book, and we’re connected on LinkedIn.

PayPal

PayPal
Splitting a check, joining an office betting pool, or putting money into a fantasy sports pot is easy thanks to PayPal’s app. I just open it up, type in the email address for the person I want to send money to, and pay.

Merrill Lynch

Merrill Lynch
My bank, Merrill Lynch, doesn’t have any local branches. So des positing checks used to be a real pain; I had to mail them in!
Now, thanks to an app update after Merrill was acquired by Bank of America, I can just take a photo of a check and it gets deposited. SWEET.
At its best, technology makes your life easier, more productive, or more fun. Here’s a look at 10 of the best smartphone apps on offer right now, according to Business Insider’s Nicholas Carlson.

Seamless

Seamless
It used to be that ordering takeout was a pain. Unless you kept a paper menu on your fridge, you had to look up the restaurant online to see its menu. Then you had to call it up and place your order. This meant talking to someone on the phone, which is the worst, especially if the person on the other end doesn’t speak great English.
Now: I get out of the subway. I open up Seamless. I use my thumb to order to dinner from any of the two dozen nearby restaurants in 2 minutes. It shows up at my door 30 minutes later. My wallet stays in my back pocket the whole time. Magic.

Evernote

Evernote
I use Evernote to remember everything from what kind of Oysters I like to eat, gifts ideas for my wife’s birthday next October, what kind of golf clubs I like to use from 100/75/50 yards out, and notes from my last meeting with a source.
All of it is searchable and organized into clearly labeled notebooks.
Evernote also has other neat tricks.
You can take a picture of a hand-written note, and the words on the page will become searchable later.
It’s aware of your calendar. If you have a meeting on your calendar, it will automatically label notes you take during that meeting “Notes from meeting with Henry.”
Just awesome.

Clear

Clear
Clear is a to-do list app. It’s very simple.  I use it to list out the stories I should write or assign. I use it to remind myself of things I need to do at some point during the afternoon that day. I use it to list out the unhealthy food I’m going to allow myself to eat each month.

Uber

Uber

cabs are everywhere and always available – except when its raining.
Suddenly there are none. It used to mean that I was them doomed to take the subway or a bus from wherever I was.
That’s when I pull out my iPhone and use my thumb to summon a taxi. Then, a driver shows up and takes me where I need to go and I never have to take my wallet out.

Fantastical

Fantastical
I used to have the truly awful, horrible habit of sometimes forgetting that I was supposed to be somewhere.
Then I got Fantastical, a calendar app.
Fantastical has a nice UI, but what’s really great about it is how easy it is to schedule something with it.
You type into it “meet with Jay at 4p on tues” and it knows exactly what you mean, and creates the exact right even, with a standard alert you’ve set up in your preferences.
By making it so easy and quick to input events, I’m inputting a lot more of them – and forgetting zero. Which is exactly how many a respectable adult should forget.

Block Fortress

Block Fortress
I sit on the subway for an hour plus every day. If I don’t have a good book to read, TV show to watch, or iPhone game to play, that hour can be painful.
I’ve played a bunch of great iPhone games – Pirates, Civilization, and FieldRunners 2 stand out in my memory – but none have been as great as Block Fortress.
Block Fortress is a turn-based tower defense game that turns into a first-person shooter. Every turn, you set up your defenses for an onslaught of foes. Then you press a button and drop down into the fortress you just built and start fighting.
Playing it, the time flies.

Podcasts

Podcasts
Everyone hates on Apple’s default Podcast app. I like it. I walk 30 minutes plus a day, and I use it all the time, and am not desperate to try replacements.

CardMunch

CardMunch
Business cards seem kind of antiquated in an age of Google, email signatures, and LinkedIn.
But CardMunch makes it useful to get them.
When someone hands me a business card, I open up CardMunch. In the app, I take a photo of the card. It’s then uploaded to the cloud, and someone somewhere writes inputs what’s on the card. Next time I open CardMunch, I have that person’s contact in a digital address book, and we’re connected on LinkedIn.

PayPal

PayPal
Splitting a check, joining an office betting pool, or putting money into a fantasy sports pot is easy thanks to PayPal’s app. I just open it up, type in the email address for the person I want to send money to, and pay.


Merrill Lynch

Thursday, May 23, 2013

26 Tips for Writing Great Blog Posts


Do you blog? Feel like you’re trying to reinvent the wheel time and again?

Looking for some ideas to simplify your content creation process?
What follows are 26 tips, from A-Z, to help you create optimal blog posts every time you sit down to write.

1- Anatomically Correct

A blog post contains several areas that require our attention and care. Pamela Seiple refers to six parts of the anatomy of a lead-generating blog post:
  • Eye-catching title
  • In-text links to landing pages
  • Sidebar/banner calls to action
  • Social sharing buttons
  • Call to action at the bottom
  • Relevancy—making sure the post is relevant from top to bottom

 

2- Blogging Platform

By knowing the ins and outs of your blogging platform, you’ll ensure that your posts look as good as they can. Take the time to master the visual editor (or raw HTML, if you prefer) so that you know how to format a post, insert an image and embed a video or podcast.
Whether you’re working in platforms such as WordPress, Tumblr or Posterous, it’s good to stay up to date on the features and new versions.
If you’re not comfortable with the more technical aspects of blogging, try to find someone who can be a resource for you to answer questions as they arise.

3- Categories

Whether your new blog post is a stand-alone article or part of a series you’re writing, it should fit into your blog categories as well as your overall corporate content strategy. Meaning that you want to stay on topic and have your posts fit into the categories you’ve established.
For example, HubSpot has nine categories on their blog. Posts are written to fit in with each of these categories. Writing about category topics such as analytics, blogging, email marketing, HubSpot TV, etc., allows both readers and writers to stay focused on what they can expect to see on HubSpot’s blog.
When you choose your categories, ask yourself, do they make sense, and do they fit into the objectives of my business? Having clearly defined blog categories will help you continue generating meaningful content and topics for your blog.

4- Description

Most search engines will use a maximum of 160 characters for your post description on their results pages. If you don’t create a meta-description (defined as a “…concise summary of your page’s content”), a search engine will often take the first 160 characters it finds on your page instead.
Note too, that when you create a meta-description that is fewer than 160 characters, you’ll see the full description in the search engine. Otherwise it will be cut off.

5- Editorial Calendar

Bloggers find editorial calendars helpful for scheduling and organizing topics for posts. Some people use their calendars to track more elaborate details.
Michele Linn suggests using specific tabs in a spreadsheet to track info for each post such as: post date, author, tentative title, keywords, categories, tags, call to action and status. She says “By tracking more than topic and date it will help to make sure the key elements you need for SEO, digital optimization and conversion are accounted for.”

6- Fine-Tune and Revise

Like other forms of writing, a blog post is rarely completed in one draft. Many writers find it helpful to take a post through several revisions and fine-tune the post as you go along. Check grammar, spelling and punctuation, and make certain that all of your links are working.

7- Guidelines for Writing for Search Engines

By following a few tips and best practices, you can increase the chance that your blog post will be found by search engines—by Google in particular.
The State University of New York at Plattsburgh offers these helpful writing tips:
  • Google likes text
  • Google likes formatting
  • Google likes freshness
  • Google likes accessibility
  • Google likes outbound hyperlinks
  • Googlebot isn’t psychic, so remember to link your pages
  • Google likes you to tell it where you are
  • Google likes experts

 

8- Headings

Joost de Valk offers some good suggestions regarding blog headings. He writes, “The heading structure of your pages is one of the very important aspects of on-page SEO. It defines which parts of your content are important, and how they’re interconnected. Because they have different goals, a single post needs another heading structure than your blog’s homepage or your category archives.”
He offers five basic principles about heading structure:
  • The most important heading on the page should be the H1
  • There is usually only one H1 on any page
  • Subheadings should be H2s, sub-subheadings should be H3s, etc.
  • Each heading should contain valuable keywords; if not, it’s a wasted heading
  • For longer pieces of content, a heading is what helps a reader skip to the parts that he/she finds interesting

 

9- Images

Blog posts are made up of more than words and headings.
Judy Dunn recommends five ways the right photo can increase readership and blog views:
  • Convey the overall feeling or emotion of your post
  • Illustrate a metaphor or analogy that is part of your main idea
  • Evoke surprise or curiosity
  • Complement your headline
  • Make your reader smile
Judy points out too that readers are visual learners and images can help people take in and retain information better.

10- Journalistic Approach

Bloggers can learn a lot from traditional journalists and the ways that they approach their news stories.
Mickie Kennedy offers five things that bloggers can learn from journalists:
  • Get your facts straight
  • Trust has to be earned
  • Give credit to your sources
  • The inverted pyramid works (basic overview in first paragraph and then delve into more details in subsequent paragraphs)
  • Editing and proofreading are essential


11- Killer SEO and Blog Design

Cyrus Shepard makes an important case for having a beautiful blog. He says, “…the overall design of your site is the first thing visitors see and it significantly influences bounce rate, page views and conversions.”
Cyrus suggests that certain elements on the page will add to a blog’s success:
  • Search box
  • RSS feed
  • Breadcrumbs (helping users navigate),
  • Flat site architecture by minimizing the number of clicks it takes to reach your content
  • Images
  • Keep your best content above the fold
  • Link to your best content
  • Don’t overdo links
  • Watch ad space
  • Encourage comments
  • Add sharing buttons
  • Test the blog for speed
  • Check your blog in different browsers
  • Pick a powerhouse blogging platform (e.g., WordPress, Posterous, Tumblr)
For a resource that will help remind you of these killer SEO suggestions, check out Cyrus’ infographic, Blog Design for Killer Search Engine Optimization.

12- Lists

Lists have become a very popular type of blog post.
Nate Riggs offers three types for bloggers to consider: brief, detailed and hybrid lists.
The brief list has little description but can entice readers to bookmark the post to use the list as a resource down the road or to share it across their own networks.
In a detailed list, each bullet is a complete thought and serves as a good way to communicate complex information.
The hybrid list combines the elements of short and detailed lists, often with descriptive narratives or explanations in paragraphs between the actual lists.
Nate’s post has a lot of useful information about lists as a powerful content marketing tactic and is a good example of a hybrid list.

13- Metrics for Blogging

Magdalena Georgieva identifies five metrics to keep an eye on to know how your blogging is going: visitors, leads, subscribers, inbound links and social media shares.
As Magdalena says, “Measure the performance of your business blog regularly to identify weaknesses in the content you’re producing, what topics your audience truly cares about, and what blogging tactics work for you.”
When you find topics and approaches that work particularly well, try to replicate those efforts and be willing to let go of features that aren’t performing well. Magdalena recommends looking at your five most successful blog posts and asking, “What do they have in common?”

14- Names, Titles and Bio

Not only are readers interested in the content in your blog post, they also want to know who wrote the post and their role at your organization.
Sometimes you’ll come across a thoroughly researched and well-written post only to find an attribution of “admin.” Even if the blog is only written by you and you’re the administrator of the blog, be sure to include your name, title and a way for readers to contact you.

15- Original vs. Curated Content

The type of post you write can contain completely original content or can consist of content that you’ve curated.
Pamela Seiple addresses the issue of curated content and makes an important point when she says, “There’s a misconception among marketers that curated content is lazy and unoriginal, but we think it’s the complete opposite. It takes time and careful evaluation to create quality curated content and the result is oftentimes a very valuable piece of content that helps people seeking information on a given topic to cut through the clutter on the web and save time.”
The 26 tips series here on Social Media Examiner is an example of curated posts, pulling in the expertise of others who have written on the topic. As a curator of this kind of post, I love the journey of the research and find it especially rewarding to see the content pulled together in a way that hadn’t been previously available. Curated posts can be incredibly gratifying!

16- Publish and Promote

Kristi Hines speaks about the publishing and promoting stages of creating a successful blog post. Kristi says that one thing you want to do during the publishing stage is to ensure that your post has some kind of call to action. “Think about what you want people to do once they’ve read the post….”
Promoting a blog post can involve a fair amount of thought and strategy, as you’ll see from Kristi’s approach. She has a different plan in place for “averagely awesome posts, awesome posts and killer awesome posts.”
What differs for the three types of posts is how many social networks she shares the posts with, whether she includes the post in her writing portfolio and whether it’s included in her custom RSS feed or utilizes blog commenting promotion and direct messaging partners in social media to see if they’ll help spread the word.
Kristi describes promotion as taking from a few minutes to a few hours, and recommends taking the time to build a good foundation before you expect to execute a successful blog promotion.

17- Questions

What are you going to write about post after post, week after week, year after year? Sometimes thinking about content for your blog can seem daunting.
Lee Odden offers a great piece of advice: “One particularly effective way to get content ideas for blogging comes from reviewing web analytics for the kinds of questions people type into search engines like Google or Bing that deliver visitors.”
In one example, Lee said that he noticed that numerous visitors each month were typing in the question “What does a community manger do?” and search engines were sending them to one of his posts about that topic. He used it as an opportunity to explore other related questions about social community managers and providing content in the form of answers.
What questions are your web visitors asking before they arrive on your pages? How can you maximize your content to answer readers’ questions?

18- Research

Well-researched blog posts can differentiate your content from your competitors’. Being known as a go-to source in your industry will help make your blog stand out. Where do you go to research posts?
I find that utilizing a variety of sources helps me gather the information I’m seeking.
For example, while I can often find a lot of useful content via web-based searches, sometimes there’s nothing like a visit to the library or a bookstore where I often will discover a helpful book on the shelf that I wouldn’t have known existed if I hadn’t been standing there physically eyeballing them.
Oli Gardner makes a good case for using social media research for your blog posts. He suggests ten social media research strategies:

 

19- Stand Out

When you’ve been blogging in a competitive marketplace for a while, chances are good that you’ll see other bloggers writing on topics similar to yours. It doesn’t mean that you have to stay away from the topic completely; rather you can use it as an opportunity to see what worked and didn’t work in their post and write yours in a way that will help you to stand out in the topic area.
By reading the comments on similar blog posts, you will get a great view of what questions and thoughts people had after reading the post and you can take a slightly different angle by making sure you cover those areas in your article.

20- Title

How important is the title of your blog post? Simply put, very important!
Brian Clark writes that the title is the first, and perhaps only, impression you make on a prospective reader.
He says, “Without a headline or post title that turns a browser into a reader, the rest of your words may as well not even exist.
But a headline can do more than simply grab attention. A great headline can also communicate a full message to its intended audience, and it absolutely must lure the reader into your body text.”

21- User-Centered Content

Possibly one of the worst mistakes a blog post can make is missing the mark of its readers, forgetting who they are and their needs and interests.
Georgy Cohen goes as far as to say that content can serve as customer service and that to be helpful, content should be user-focused (asking what our users’ problems and priorities are), communicated clearly and presented in succinct language.

22- Valuable Content

In the perfect blogging world, creating valuable content would be at the top of every blogger’s list for their post objectives.
While our definitions about valuable content may vary, Ahava Leibtag has created a very helpful step-by-step checklist that reminds us to ask five questions:
  • Can the user find the content
  • Can the user read the content
  • Can the user understand the content
  • Will the user want to take action
  • Will the user share the content
She suggests:
  • Findable content includes: an H1 tag; at least two H2 tags; metadata including title, descriptors and keywords; links to other related content; alt tags for images.
  • Readable content includes: an inverted-pyramid writing style, chunking, bullets, numbered lists, following the style guide.
  • Understandable content includes: an appropriate content type (text, video), indication that you considered the users’ persona, context, respect for the users’ reading level, articulating an old idea in a new way.
  • Actionable content includes: a call to action, a place to comment, an invitation to share, links to related content, a direct summary of what to do.
  • Shareable content includes: something to provoke an emotional response, a reason to share, a request to share, an easy way to share, personalization. 

 

23- Word Count

How many words should you have in your blog post? Some blogs have set parameters for optimal length and put a value on whether a post is short or long.
Corey Eridon has an interesting perspective on word count and suggests that focusing on blog word count might not be as important as you think it is. “Some topics take 100 words to explain, some take 1,000, and that’s okay.”
Corey suggests that writers focus instead on whether posts are optimized for mobile, use effective formatting, communicate in a clear manner and that outlining the points you want to cover may ultimately be a better use of your time and energy.
If you’re restricted to shorter posts by the parameters set up in advance for your blog, then you could also follow Corey’s advice to link to longer-form content you’ve developed around the topic.
Bottom line: Don’t let the quantity of words dictate the quality of your post.

24- (E)xcerpt

On the heels of our discussion about blog word count, a shorter blog post can also be an excerpt or summary of what readers will find in your longer-form content—e.g., eBook or white paper—but it needn’t be restricted to words.
You can also use an excerpt of the transcript or a brief description to demonstrate what information the users will learn if they watch your video or listen to your podcast

25- Your Story

Readers like to get to know how writers tick and often appreciate hearing a few personal details and insights from the person who has taken them on a journey through a post. While business blogs shouldn’t be thought of as personal journal entries, you can tell your readers a little bit about how you operate.
For example, I stated above that writing curated posts like the 26 tips series here on Social Media Examiner is one of my favorite types of posts to write. (Truth be told, curated posts are also some of my favorite types to read.)
In the description of “research” above, I also shared how research is one of my favorite parts of blogging and how I enjoy researching both online and offline by doing the footwork of visiting libraries and bookstores in search of materials.
What parts of yourself are you willing and able to share with your readers?

26- Zone for Writing

Ideas for blog posts come at all times—when you’re driving in your car, sitting at your desk, and yes, even in the middle of the night!
Chances are good though that the actual writing of the post will happen in multiple drafts and revisions, and depending on how you work, it may take place over a period of days.
What can be helpful is to 
create a time and place where you can get into the zone for writing and allow yourself to go with it, with as few interruptions as possible.
What do you think? How do you keep your blog posts consistent and dynamic? What tips would you add? Leave your questions and comments in the box below.

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